WC News & 440 Report Winter 2021

Enclosed is the winter edition of the News & 440 Report. In this edition, we start off the year by discussing our featured topic, “Focusing on Professionalism.” The cover page welcomes our newest members of the section taking the Oath of Admission to The Florida Bar and reminds us to revisit the Oath. “Focusing on Professionalism” helps answer this important question: What type of section do we want to hand over to our newer attorneys who are observing how we interact with each other during litigation? As always, thank you to all section members and judges who contributed articles and other content. The News & 440 Report is only possible with people like yourself volunteering their time to contribute to this publication.

The Workers' Compensation Section has a wide diversity of membership, and so we want to highlight interests, accomplishments, etc., that contribute to the excellence of our member attorneys. If you would like to have an article published, please email Sean McCormack (smccormack@thefloridafirm.com) or Courtney Bahe (cbahe@pelsusa.com).

Click Here to download the Winter 2021 News & 440 Report

news440winter2021

Judge of Compensation Claims Town Halls: Part 1 presented by the Workers’ Compensation Section

Please join Judge Neal Pitts and Judge Thomas Sculco at Noon on February 4, 2021 for the first in a series of Judge of Compensation Claims Town Halls presented by the Workers’ Compensation Section of the Florida Bar and the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims. These Town Hall Meetings via Zoom format will address procedure and practical issues pertinent to the practitioner in each OJCC District.

You are invited to a scheduled zoom meeting:

NOTE: Zoom may reflect this as an 11:00 a.m. meeting because it was scheduled in the Central Time Zone, it is a 12:00 noon meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82490158376?pwd=S1dJYnQ0VnBZRSs0ZDRicjJPamVWQT09

Meeting ID: 824 9015 8376
Passcode: 923638

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Meeting ID: 824 9015 8376

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Message from the Chair

The Florida Bar has approximately 107,000 members. The Workers’ Compensation section has approximately 1,200 members. Given our small numbers, it is not uncommon to cross each other’s paths several times over the course of our careers. Developing close relationships with our colleagues used to be commonplace, and that was an amazing thing. But as time passes, due to technology and more firms growing statewide practices, our day to day contact has been significantly reduced.

Where we used to see each other daily, we now see motions for sanctions. Where we used to recognize phone numbers on our caller ID, we now get inundated with e-mail. Now believe me, I am not suggesting that we go back to live pre-trials, but in the sage words of my predecessor, Glen Weiland, PICK UP THE PHONE. We are the stewards of our practice and if ever there was a time for collegiality, it is now. To an extent, the pandemic has drawn us apart, but now we have a need for togetherness. It is time to pick up the phone and work things out. It is time to administer ethics and professionalism. It is time to look in the mirror and treat others as we would want to be treated.

With that said, I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to serve as Chair of the Workers’ Compensation Section for the 2020-2021 term.

While the pandemic has presented obstacles for all of us, look for the Executive Council to continue in its efforts to secure a salary increase for the Judges of Compensation Claims (JCC’s). Our JCC’s play an integral role in the workers’ compensation system and it should be of paramount importance to all members of the Section that we continue to work with industry and all other interested parties to secure this salary increase.

Additionally, pandemic permitting, we will be working on outreach programs to reach new practitioners to promote section membership. I’d like to see us partner with the Inns of Court throughout the state to foster professionalism and ethics. Also, we will be putting plans in place to take a more active role in Big Bar activities and events. While we have a very cordial Bar, being more involved in Big Bar events will increase our presence in the State and help us to become the best section we can be.

Finally, it is my intent to have an open-door policy. If any Section member has any comments or ideas on how to improve the Section and the services we offer, or just wants to chat about the state of our practice, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. As Chair, I am here to serve you and look forward to the upcoming year.

Philip Augustine

Florida Bar Workers’ Compensation Section

April Newsletter

We're hosting an upcoming webinar "Medicare Secondary Payer & Professional Administration Update" on Tuesday April 21st at 2:00PM EST.

Reserve your seat today to learn about recent and potential changes to Medicare Set Asides (MSAs), conditional payments, and Section 111 reporting, and updates on Professional Administration.

*All registrants will receive the webinar recording following the event*

Register Now

We're also excited to share:

  • An article discussing The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' new requirement for WCMSA submissions to include a Consent to Release form and its significance for injured individuals
  • The release of our new video, ‘How Does Medicare Set Aside Administration Work?’ that explains how professional administration helps injured individuals manage their care and fulfills their responsibilities to Medicare
  • A news update regarding the CDC's Life Tables for 2017 being utilized for calculating life expectancy in WCMSAs
  • How settlements with a Special Needs Trust (SNT) component help protect an injured individual’s public benefits and important factors to consider when selecting the appropriate trust option
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